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Level 6

Some support issues span the globe and take weeks to resolve. Joel, a veteran Symantec Enterprise Vault (EV) support specialist, received a warm handoff from a Symantec support rep in Australia who was working with a customer at a large multinational chemical company. The Symantec customer in need of assistance was in India, working for his company, headquartered in Europe. The customer site was large. “It may be the largest EV site I’ve worked on,” Joel commented. The customer was responsible for over 5,000 archives on 12 EV servers.

By the time Joel received the handoff from Australia, the customer had already been on the phone off and on for two weeks trying to track down the source of his problem. So Joel knew, going in, that this trouble ticket could take some time to resolve.

Stalled archiving

The customer told Joel that each time certain users tried to initiate archiving, the system stalled and returned error messages. As a way to better understand his problem, Joel kicked off a session of WebEx and followed the error trail by examining the Enterprise Vault event log. The error he found pointed to an issue with the Provisioning task. Joel then had the customer remote connect to the SQL server. After having the customer perform an SQL query, sure enough, the table was filled with inactive and non-existent users. While trying to work through these lists of inactive accounts, the system was timing out.

Fixing the problem was time-consuming. Over a four hour period, Joel stayed on the line while the customer repeated procedures for pruning the non-existent users from the SQL table and making repairs. Each operation brought them closer to a resolution, but it required multiple sessions. Ultimately, however, the problem was resolved, and the site could resume its critical archiving operations once again.

Inherited trouble

But fixing the initial problem was just the beginning of the story in some respects. Joel could tell that the customer was somewhat unfamiliar with the EV installation, no doubt inheriting the archiving duties from a previous technician or from a consultant. In many situations, installations are poorly documented, and new technicians have little information to go on when troubleshooting their sites. This unfamiliarity was causing additional problems. “They need extra help if they’re unfamiliar with the product. Spending that extra time explaining certain processes helps the customer better understand the product, while potentially eliminating future support calls.”

Joel and the customer tackled a number of additional problems in the following weeks. The first was ridding the servers of unused and obsolete organizational units in the directories. Joel estimates there were hundreds of organizational units, all using the same archiving rules. After a consolidation of these groups, the customer’s EV archiving performance improved dramatically. Other problems Joel addressed included fixing corrupt indexes and offering advice for consolidating the twelve EV servers to just three.

Joel and the customer are still in contact, working through additional issues at the site. “I know there’s a time difference there, but he seems fine staying late so he can talk with me,” said Joel.

Joel’s dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed. In a letter to Joel’s manager, the customer wrote: “I am a man of few words. I would just like to say “brilliant” when it comes to the service provided by your technical representative for the Enterprise Vault issue. I sincerely wish that you had clones of such people who are amazing in their role. Please provide him a raise (if it is possible).”

Joel plays down his role, however. “It wasn’t an extremely difficult case. It just took some time to resolve and was a bit frustrating at first,” he notes. But it was Joel’s willingness to put in the time that made the difference.

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Last update:
‎03-17-2009 11:05 AM
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